Hi guys and gals,

Do you know what I mean when I talk about a favourite “sloppy joe” shirt?

An evening on the settee dressed in your “sloppy joe” shirt with your favourite old movie, your favourite chocolate bar and a glass of wine.

You know where I’m coming from don’t you? Comfortable, I’m talking about that level of comfortable that only old favourites can engender.

I read an article in Psychologies magazine about living in the moment which I found extremely inspiring. I am a believer/follower of the doctrines encompassed within Rhonda Byrne’s Secret and the concept of living in the moment is another way of putting the same message over. However, I have to defend the past. When remembered in a positive way and used the same way we use our favourite “sloppy joe” shirt, the past and history is a wonderful thing. The secret is to harness the memories in the moment that is now.

I spent time in England last week on a stopover to Norway with my oldest friend Lorraine. We have known each other since we were four years old. We were there for each other to combat the school bullies, handle the trauma of moving on to an all-girls secondary modern, we picked each other up after the devastation of first love and we were there when we each met our prospective husbands and life partners. We have endured the traumas giving birth and of losing parents together and we are as close today as we were aged four when innocence made friendship easy.

Spending time with Lorraine was the ultimate “sloppy joe” experience and as surprising as it was to me, it was here that I relaxed and confessed my deepest, darkest fears and traumas regarding the journey that is my writing. Sharing my issues with someone who understands completely the emotional traumas I spoke of was like unlocking a box of butterflies and letting them flutter and fly up into the sky. The sense of relief was indescribable.

I am very fortunate in that I have several strong friendships that have endured the passage of time and I met up with two other “old” friends both of whom I have known since early teens. The meeting evoked old memories, some of which I don’t recall. For example my friends recalled their memories of my parents and the strong image that came to their minds immediately was “there was always a clock chiming”.

I have my father’s clock. He loved it and my mother hated it. It was one of those things in our house. My father would faithfully wind the clock every day and admonish my mum if she dared to disturb it, even slightly, when dusting. My mum would moan and claim it was an eye sore. My dad would explain to me the importance of the clock being placed on a level surface and I remember him showing me how a spirit level worked. The clock was fickle and would often decide not to keep the same time as the rest of the world, sometimes it simply refused to function.

Sometimes my dad’s clock chimed thirteen times.

Now you can believe me or not. My mother never heard it chime thirteen, nor did any of my siblings. But my dad did and so did I. In later years after my father had passed away and I had taken charge of his most treasured possession, I brought the clock with me to Spain. My husband conceded that yes, it may have chimed more than twelve but he couldn’t be sure.

The clock has not worked for many years and I cannot remember when or why we stopped taking it to Juan the clockmaker in Arroyo de la Miel. It sits majestically on my mantel piece as invisible in my daily routine as so many things become if we let them. My old and good friends reminded me of my father’s clock and the importance of hearing it chime.

I have returned home focussed and ready to write. I am also obsessed with the idea that I need to hear my dad’s clock chime again. I must find the key that winds the clock because I am sure that is the key to unlock the 18 foot high oak door to the The Writer’s World.

I’m back my friends.




4 thoughts on “Sloppy joe shirts and old favourites

  1. Gill, the content of this blog is wonderful, but the way you write is extraordinary. You have such a way of constructing sentences it paints pictures behind my eyes.



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